Autumn suppers are sorted with this hearty and family-friendly meat-free recipe from Theo Michaels’ new cookbook, Rustica
IMAGE: MOWIE KAY © RYLAND, PETERS & SMALL
This dish is inspired by the humble food prepared in Italian villages and designed to feed a large family. I see creamy polenta tipped out directly onto a wooden board and topped with a hearty mushroom ragù, a scene that conjures up romantic notions of what it is to really eat together… But I’m sure my reality would be kids mucking about and adults shouting to be heard over the cacophony! The Parmesan Polenta makes the perfect accompaniment here and to a variety of other dishes, especially those with a little sauce looking for something soft to mingle with.
Rich Mushroom Ragu on Parmesan Polenta
- 7 g dried porcini mushrooms
- olive oil for frying/sautéing
- 1 medium white onion diced
- 500 g chestnut or button mushrooms halved
- 2 garlic cloves sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- a small pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 medium ripe tomato, deseeded and diced
- 400- g can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 100 ml cup white wine
- 100 ml cup chicken or vegetable stock
- a knob of butter optional
- 200 g fresh mixed wild mushrooms cleaned
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- a handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves to garnish
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
- 1 quantity Parmesan Polenta
- Put the dried porcini mushrooms in a heatproof measuring jug and top up with 100 ml of just-boiled water. Leave to steep for 10 minutes, then drain (reserving the steeping liquid) and squeeze out as much moisture from the mushrooms as possible. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and set aside. Strain the steeping liquid to remove any sediment and set aside.
- Set a large, heavy-based frying pan over low heat and add a splash of olive oil. Add the onion and fry/sauté for 2 minutes, then turn up the heat and add the chestnut mushrooms. Fry/sauté until these are golden, then stir in the soaked porcini mushrooms along with the garlic, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper.
- Add the tomato, chickpeas and wine, and simmer to reduce the wine until it has almost all gone. Pour the reserved mushroom steeping liquid into the pan along with the stock. Simmer until the liquid reduces by two-thirds and thickens to the consistency of single cream, then remove the pan from the heat, beat in the butter (if using) and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat a dry frying pan until smoking hot. Add a small splash of olive oil, quickly followed by the wild mushrooms and fry/sauté for 1 minute, season generously with salt and pepper, add the lemon juice, then remove from the heat.
- To serve, gently reheat the polenta, stirring continuously, and pour it onto a large board or platter, making an indentation in the centre with the back of a spoon and spoon in the mushroom ragù. Scatter the wild mushrooms over the top, along with the flat-leaf parsley.
Recipe taken from Rustica by Theo Michaels, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£16.99). Photography by Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small*
*The Home Page makes a small commission from purchases made via this link
Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? You can share this recipe using the buttons at the top of the page, and find more recipe inspiration here…